Picasso, Gauguin and Seth

As I savor my time with Picasso, I find myself digressing a little to think about how he allows for thick lines to carry the expressiveness of some of his earlier work. Ex, Harlequin and His Companion or The Two Saltimbanques. He refines this later on, as he becomes more abstract, but even in his […]

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First Impressions of Picasso

The first works by Picasso I considered were from his Cubist paintings, but the only response I could muster was one of intrigue accompanied by very few words. The first works which elicited some opinion of what I was seeing were paintings from his Blue Period, which was much more straightforward and obvious. It is […]

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But is it art? (Part 3)

Continued from But is it art? (Part 2) Art and Money With the evaluation of art comes an implied hierarchy. We not only see it in the buying and selling of art but in museums as well. This draws up the question, What makes “good art?” What accounts for the differences in value? Freeland does […]

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But is it art? (Part 2)

The following is a long and meandering book response to But is it art? (2002) by Cynthia Freeland. 256 pages. I’ve read this book once.  The title is a rhetorical question. It is a challenge, and Freeland answers the challenge by illustrating how the very definition of “art” varies between eras and cultures, and thus, shows us […]

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But is it art? (Part 1)

The following is from my post, “What’s the big idea?” You may think these ideas are unimportant when it comes to actually producing works of art, but I think having an idea of what one believes is beautiful is at the heart of one’s approach to one’s own work. I know, this view is very […]

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The Paradox of Zen Drawing

I want to continue a couple of threads I left hanging in my last post,  Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing. (Anything in blockquotes is from that post.)  Franck anticipated that “Fundamentalist Zenists may… question [Zen Drawing’s] validity as Zen practice.” (p. 25) I glossed over this because Franck doesn’t address this question directly. He only continues to […]

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Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing (1993)

by Frederick Franck Let me first say that the concept — Zen — is thought of by the experts as indefinable. I got this from my mother when she was reading a book devoted to the subject. (Isn’t that funny?) Only after she’d gone through a couple of chapters, could she say that it meant […]

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Portrait de femme, buste

I’d discovered Albrecht Durer in an old book, Dessins et Peintures des Maitres Anciens,while browsing a used bookstore in Tucson. With the exception of the first few pages, it’s comprised entirely of lithograph prints and each page is printed on only one side. They’re almost daring you to take the book apart and decorate your […]

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More Da Vinci

Here’s Da Vinci’s Anatomical Study of a Bear’s Foot, circa 1490, which I copied from Frank Zollner’s Leonardo Da Vinci: Complete Paintings and Drawings. First impressions: Love/awe of the machinations of a bear’s biology. Visual rhythm in the metacarpals allowed to “shine” in simple lines and contrast between dark ink and white highlighting. And the […]

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Coffee, Tea and Da Vinci

Do you ever browse through art books and think, Wow, I wish I had that. Well, I do… and often. Obviously, drawings you may find in a book by a renowned artist is likely out of anyone’s reach, and obviously anything by Da Vinci is in a museum by now. But damn, I still want […]

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